Analyst sees no silver lining for broadcast stocks


Wachovia analyst Marci Ryvicker certainly has a cheery outlook on the round of radio and TV quarterly conference calls getting underway: “It’s the same, depressing story.” Look for TV companies to focus on cost cutting, retrans and leverage in their discussions with analysts and investors. ‘With virtually no equity value in radio, we anticipate that the quarterly conference calls will be focused on deleveraging events, whether it be debt paydown or outright buybacks,” she said in a note to clients.

Not to increase the depressing outlook, but here’s a review of Ryvicker’s 2009 forecasts. She expects radio revenues to be down 13%, with local down 13%, national 17%, network 10% and non-traditional revenues off 4%. For TV she expects total revenues to be down 12%, with local off 15%, national 25%, syndicated 3% and network 5%, although she does look for TV station Internet revenues to rise 3%.

“Advertisers are cutting back significantly given rising unemployment and the general state of the economy.  The story across the board is likely to be steep rev declines coupled with significant cost cutting.  While the possibilities of bankruptcies and delistings continue to pressure the stocks, neither appears likely as the banks would rather refinance than own the assets and the NYSE and NASDAQ continue to relax listing requirements (at least for now),” Ryvicker said in her report ahead of the quarterly conference calls.